The Bush administration, still angry over German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's anti-war stance on Iraq, has blocked Germany's quest to assume the chairmanship of a key Security Council sanctions committee that oversees billions of dollars in Iraqi trade, according to U.S. and U.N. diplomats.
Germany, one of five countries that will begin serving two-year terms on the 15-nation council in January, had been angling for the prestigious post, which it chaired during its previous tenure in the council between 1995 and 1996.
Germany is Iraq's 20th-largest trade partner. Its corporations have conducted a total of $419 million in business with Baghdad through a U.N. humanitarian program since the beginning of 1997, according to U.N. diplomats.
U.S. and U.N. officials said that the White House, fearing the Schroeder government might challenge U.S. policy on Iraq, made it clear that it would not accept Germany in the position. It has instead promoted the candidacies of Chile and Spain.
U.S. and British officials have informed Germany that they would be willing to back its bid for the chairmanship of a counterterrorism committee when Britain's U.N. ambassador, Jeremy Greenstock, steps down from the job next year.
Dirk Rotenberg, a spokesman for the German mission to the United Nations, declined to comment on the dispute.
He said that "we are prepared to serve on all sanctions committees and we stand also ready to take a chair if that's the result of the ongoing consultation among the Security Council."